Monday, April 25, 2011

Cherry Danish

I wasn't feeling the traditional Easter Dinner this year so my husband decided to smoke a giant bone in Rib Eye that we bought at Marczyk's Fine Foods and I decided that Martha Stewart's Cherry Danishes would be the perfect dessert!

My 4 year old daughter helped me and we all loved them. We're anxious to make them again and use some other jam for the filling. Daddy loves Cherry so he was very happy with them.

Cherry Danish
 adapted from Martha Stewart May 2011 Magazine

For the dough
1 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, plus more for bowl
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (one 1/4-ounce envelope) active dry yeast
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and hands
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream, for egg wash

For the filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup cherry preserves

For the glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream

About 3 hours before you want to serve these, make the dough.  This dough can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 2 weeks.  Warm the milk, butter, and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat until mixture reaches 120 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Make sure that you are looking at the right side of your thermometer....NOT the C side.  Pour the warm milk over the yeast that you've put in the bowl of a mixer; whisk to combine. Cover with 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes.

Using the dough-hook attachment, mix the dough on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until a sticky dough forms. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low, and mix in 1 1/2 cups flour. (If dough is too sticky, mix in an additional 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Continue to mix until dough is smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 3-5 minutes more.

Using floured hands, place your dough that you've named Henry, onto a lightly floured surface. Knead Henry into a ball, and transfer him to a large buttered bowl. Cover Henry with plastic wrap, and let him stand in a warm place until dough is doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Turn on your oven if you need to warm your kitchen. 

Return your dough named Henry to a lightly floured surface, and punch him down. Reshape Henry into a ball. Let him stand, covered with the plastic wrap, for 10 minutes.

While Henry is resting,  make the filling: Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolk. Add (or don't) poppy seeds, and beat until evenly distributed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 16-inch square. You might need to do this in two sections in you have a small kitchen like I do. Trim the edges using a sharp paring knife pizza cutter to form a 15-inch square. (If dough seems too warm or too elastic, refrigerate or freeze for 10 minutes.) Cut dough into nine 5-inch squares, and divide between 2 baking sheets.

Cut a 2-inch line from the 4 corners of each square into the center. Spread a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling onto each. Drop a heaping teaspoon of preserves on top of the cream cheese. Fold the 2 top corners into the center of each square. Repeat with remaining corners to form petals. Brush petals with egg wash. Bake until deep golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool slightly.

While your little flowers are baking, make the glaze: Mix together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. (If glaze gets stiff, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.)

Drizzle Danishes with glaze, and let stand for 10 minutes.

These can be made in the morning and served many hours later.